Neurobiology of bird song: circuits, synapses, and development

Published

Journal Article

Birdsong has many features that make it a useful system for studying vertebrate learning. Song is a complex motor behavior learned in distinct phases during the course of a young animal's life. This learning is experience-dependent: it is influenced by exactly what and how much the bird hears. There are critical periods for song learning, and the neural circuit controlling song vocalization is discretely localized (Figure 31; for review, see Konishi 1989). The song behavior is sexually dimorphic; the male sings, whereas the female sings little if at all, and the brain song control system is similarly sexually dimorphic (Nottebohm and Arnold 1976; Gurney 1981). Steroid hormones influence both the adult song behavior and the sexual differentiation of the song system (Gurney 1981 1982). All of these characteristics of birdsong provide a unique opportunity to study how the brain changes during learning and development, and to investigate the role of experience in shaping these changes. © 1991.

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Mooney, R; Doupe, AJ

Published Date

  • February 1, 1991

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 7 / 2-3

Start / End Page

  • 100 - 111

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0254-8852

Citation Source

  • Scopus